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Member postings for James Alford

Here is a list of all the postings James Alford has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Thread sizes on flexispeed meteor lathe
22/08/2019 21:52:56
Posted by Mark Edwards 1 on 22/08/2019 14:22:10:

it is the tiny screws in the gibs that I need to sort out, the threads in the castings are fine but the allen heads are all chewed up, so just need to replace the bolts. I do have thread gauges but are metric as this is all I normally need. Will also investigate UNC as well as Whitworth and see if I can figure it out. thanks Mark

I have a Flexispeed Meteor lathe (I was working on it this evening, finally getting a vertical slide fitted and working) and a spare cross slide and saddle. Whether they have been re-tapped in one of them, I do not know, but they gib screws are not interchangeable between the spare and the set in the machine. I have no idea what thread either set are, though, I regret.



Thread: Fibre optic clock
14/07/2019 08:33:14
Posted by magpie on 12/07/2019 09:00:29:

Sorry James. I never thought to take any. However the mate who owns the Austin took these photos of a Bentley I did some work on at about the same time. I thought you might like this car, although lying on my back fixing the wiring and dash was not my idea of a fun time.

That looks like a rather nice car. Somewhat more room in which to work than the Seven, I imagine.


12/07/2019 07:10:59
Posted by magpie on 11/07/2019 22:37:33:

I just had to reply to your comments because as a retired Rolls Royce coachbuilder I get asked to do lots of jobs on cars. Just before my recent health problems I helped a mate to do a complete restoration on...…. an Austin Seven Special.

A small world. Do you by any chance have any pictures of the car?


11/07/2019 19:55:51
Posted by magpie on 10/07/2019 09:06:55:

Hi James. I hope you are still there. Sorry for the very long delay in answering but ill health has kept me off the site for a good while. The clock is driven by a synchronous motor which rotates various cylinders through ratchets and cams. The cylinders contain LEDs and a series of holes, as the cylinders rotate, the fibre optics are exposed in sequence to the light from the LEDs through the holes. I hope this makes sense, not sure if it does to me though.

Cheers, Derek.

Good evening.

I am still around and thank you for your reply. I am sorry to hear of your health problems.

Thank you for the overview of how the clock works which does make general sense. I shall have to read the thread again to refresh my memory as it is a while since I read it.

I still aspire to build some sort of clock, but I am currently building an Austin Seven special, so clock plans are somewhat in the future. I shall save the thread for then, though.

Kind regards,


Thread: Small modeling lathe
07/07/2019 22:04:48

I know that everyone has their own thoughts, but having owned a Peatol (Taig) and now a Flexispeed, I have to confess that I find the Flexiespeed much better, more usable and easier to control than the Peatol. Admittedly, the Peatol was an earlier version, bought in the early 80s.


Thread: RequiredOutside Diameter to Cut 5/16 BSF Thread
23/06/2019 20:10:28

Thank you for the information. I have turned the shaft down and tapered the end a little to ease the die. The die is now cutting nicely.



23/06/2019 14:23:14

Thank you.

23/06/2019 13:58:31

Thank you both.

So, showing my utter ignorance: is the outside diameter always the same as thread size eg a 7/16 BSF thread would need a 7/16" shaft?



23/06/2019 13:49:36

I am making a stepped stud for the water manifold on an Austin Seven and wish to cut a 5/16 BSF thread on one end. I can find charts showing the size of hole to drill to tap a thread, but nothing for the diameter for studs and bolts. Would it be the same as the tapping diameter or something else?



Thread: Oxy hydrogen torches
25/05/2019 09:15:32
Posted by John Rutzen on 25/05/2019 08:55:06:

Hi, I remember those torches at school 50 odd years ago. I don't think i ever got to use one. James, what did you braze the sculpture with? Was it sifbronze or a silver solder ?


I used Sifbronze. I used whatever variety was cheapest, to be honest, mostly buying it in 1kg packets from CupAlloy.


24/05/2019 19:19:04
Posted by clogs on 24/05/2019 19:00:49:

just to add, have been thinking of the Air / town gas brazing units we used at school some 50 years ago....

need to braze a new custom motorcycle frame, thought about using a TIG for the job but at £2,000 for a good unit is just a touch to much......

so, was wondering .....

I have an as new BOC cutting torch, (all Brass) was thinking about having a go with compressed air and Propane....

any ideas......

If you have a compressor, why not try? I was brazing a very large copper sculpture in the free air, without any firebricks.

24/05/2019 19:14:37
Posted by William Chitham on 24/05/2019 16:51:31:

In the US a lot of bicycle builders are using oxy propane for brass and silver brazing using old medical oxygen concentrators. A lot cheaper in the long run than cylinders and safer too. You can find them on ebay occasionally or Tufnells Glass do new & recon units:

I saw these devices, but they were more than I could justify, especially as I had a compressor.


23/05/2019 21:23:37
Posted by John Rutzen on 23/05/2019 08:17:11:

Hi James, that sounds very interesting, Please could you give me a link to the websites you found the information on. Thank you.


This is the page which set me thinking.

My first attempt worked well, but the flame was rather bushy and lack direction. My second attempt was much more effective. It had a longer, narrower tube and more slots. I experimented a lot with sheet rolled into a tube to slide up and down the base part to try and get the optimum length.

The details below are for the first version which I made. I shall post a picture of the later version if you wish.

I had a disused oxy-acetylene torch and made a new nozzle to fit onto a swan neck. The sketch below gives the main dimensions, none of which seems to be too critical.

I made my torch before I had my lathe working, so everything it rather loose and wonky. I brazed it all together and it works.

I connected the air line from the torch to the hose from a compressor and the gas line to the propane tank. I have blow-back arrestors in both hoses. I use the torch with the compressor and propane set to full.

The settings on the torch controls themselves is quite critical and needs careful setting. However, once the right combination of gas and air is found, the flame is quite compact, extremely hot and very noisy.

This short video shows the torch running. The flame is off-centre, mainly because the whole thing is a little wonky. **LINK**





Edited By James Alford on 23/05/2019 21:26:29

23/05/2019 07:16:22

I needed to do a lot of brazing on a large copper structure, but could not justify the cost of oxygen bottles or the gas. I fabricated a compressed air-propane torch which I ran off from a small compressor. It was no doubt less efficient than oxy-propane, but was still more than powerful enough to braze the structure well.

I made the torch using ideas from the web. It took a while to fine tune it, but the cost was negligible.


Edited By James Alford on 23/05/2019 07:18:03

Thread: New member, Buckinghamshire
07/01/2019 20:27:21

I live in Aylesbury (Buckinghamshire).



Thread: Unusual Tool
02/12/2018 21:11:43

Thank you for the suggestions. If I see the person who gave it to me again, I shall ask her whether she has any idea what it is. I believe that the tools were her husband's who has, I think, died. Knowing what he did for a living might give a clue.


02/12/2018 12:18:18

No. The blade, assuming that it is a blade, is central to the tool and is in one piece.

02/12/2018 11:34:35
"A photo with the knob depressed showing the blade would be helpful.



The third image down shows the plunger fully depressed. The blade is flush with the bottom of the tool and does not protrude. James.

Edited By James Alford on 02/12/2018 11:37:38

02/12/2018 11:33:21

Edited By James Alford on 02/12/2018 11:33:35

02/12/2018 11:21:15
Posted by roy entwistle on 02/12/2018 11:07:51:

A photo would help cheeky

I was posting from my phone and could not work out how to add the pictures............ Reverted to the laptop.

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